Knicks' Beal Deal: Trade Proposal Swaps RJ Barrett for Wizards Star
Bradley Beal has remained loyal to the Washington Wizards throughout his 11-year NBA career. His devotion is headlined by big contracts from Washington management, as he’s currently working on a five-year deal worth over $251 million.
But as the Wizards, current holders of the fourth and final Eastern Conference Play-In spot, remain mired in mediocrity, they could look to move his exorbitant price tag this offseason.
Could the New York Knicks come calling?
Bleacher Report published a list of offseason trade ideas for what they deem are “hopeless” NBA teams, proposing that the Wizards deal Beal to the Knicks in exchange for RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier, and a series of draft picks.
Grant Hughes writes:
“For the New York Knicks to go for something like this, they’d have to be strongly convinced of their one-player-away status as contenders. Considering their run during the second half of this season, and depending on how the playoffs shake out, they might not be far from believing that.
Beal’s deal makes him among the toughest players in the league to trade, but nothing is impossible. Fortunately, we’re more concerned with the Washington Wizards’ side of this exchange. They, not the Knicks, are the “hopeless” team in need of a fresh start.
Staunchly resistant to trading Beal for the better part of a decade, the Wiz must understand at a gut level that moving on from him is the only way to get off the mediocrity treadmill. With so much cash tied up in a good-not-great player, it’s basically impossible to bottom out or add enough talent to contend.”
While Barrett presents a longer, more youthful building block that has yet to reach his full potential, Beal has proven to be a consistent 30-point scorer. He’d be an instant top offensive option for head coach Tom Thibodeau, even with Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson remaining on the roster.
Beal is averaging 23.4 points a game on a career-high 51.2 percent shooting from the field this season. He’s only played in 47 games (sidelined due to a hamstring injury at the start of the calendar year) and has dropped to 17.6 shot attempts per game, but has shown a willingness to sacrifice for teammates Kristaps Porzingis and budding star Kyle Kuzma, both of whom linger among the Association’s top 40 scores.
Whether or not Beal, 29, is worth three first-round picks in addition to Barrett and Fournier (the latter of whom hasn’t touched gameday hardwood since Feb. 13) would be up to Knicks management. The three-time All-Star has advanced out of the first round of the playoffs twice in five appearances but has kept his production up to the tune of a 23.5-point average over five showings. Beal probably doesn’t fully satisfy the Knicks’ lack of an established superstar, but he would bring them enough offensive firepower to provide a true fighting chance against any team, regardless of home-court advantage.
The Knicks (41-30) have one more meeting with Beal and the Wizards slated for Apr. 2. In the meantime, they’ll welcome the Denver Nuggets to Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, MSG). Washington (32-37) faces a formidable test to keep its postseason hopes alive against Cleveland on Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Washington).